Doug Wright Biography


Playwright Doug Wright’s career defies all categorization. While a prominent motif in his writing is the reexamination of artistic history, it does not exclusively define his work. His first play, Interrogating the Nude, is a deconstruction of the scandal surrounding the debut of Marcel Duchamp’s painting “Nude Descending a Staircase.” In it, the outrage that greeted the painting is transformed into a kind of noir murder mystery. Wright followed Interrogating the Nude with Watabanaland (1995), a free-form, fantastical play that, true to Wright’s interest in controversial subjects, includes cannibalism. Following the chilly reception that greeted Watabanaland, Wright turned his attention to the life and death of the Marquis de Sade. The dramatic result of his explorations is Quills, an imagining of the battle of wills between Sade and the establishment of Charenton Asylum. The play was well received and was later adapted into a film in 2000 featuring Geoffrey Rush as the marquis (in an Academy Award–nominated performance), Joaquin Phoenix as Coulmier, Michael Caine as the doctor, and Kate Winslet as Madeleine. Despite the successes of the stage and film versions of Quills, Wright is perhaps most famous for writing I Am My Own Wife. The play began off-Broadway, transferred to Broadway, and won virtually every major theater award in 2004. Just when Wright’s reputation as an edgy provocateur seemed cemented, in 2007 he wrote the book for The Little Mermaid, a Broadway musical based on the Disney animated film. Despite iffy responses from the critics, the play has been a commercial success.


(Drama for Students)

Doug Wright Published by Gale Cengage

Doug Wright was born in Dallas, Texas, and it has been reported that, in 2005, he still spoke with a slight Texan twang. He received his...

(The entire section is 366 words.)